International Graduate Center Bremen

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Last year we celebrated our tenth anniversary and today we are looking back with pride over the past decade. Every year, over 200 students from more than 40 different nations and cultural backgrounds come to Bremen to study at the IGC. In this respect, we see it as our responsibility to act as a role model to promote and to live the idea of a participative and socially responsible community, in which profit making is not a “stand-alone-objective”, but highly related to its compatibility of social values.

Qualitative Development for a tomorrow

We are proud to take responsibility for our students by promoting the idea of a community environment for studies and offering support during the fragile first moments of our new students who have come to Bremen for the first time and are living in a new country. With the active involvement of the staff members and the students in the learning process of sustainability, we engage with the concept of sustainability, in which we promote that ecological, social and economic values do not necessarily compete but complement each other.

 

Economy for the common good - a model for the future

In order to meet our demands of a fair and sustainable economy, we joined the movement "Economy of the common good" (ECG). Since the foundation of the ECG in the year 2010 this program has developed into a growing and dynamic movement around the world. Around 1800 companies worldwide, including the Sparda Bank in Münich, Vaude (the sportswear manufacturer), and 6000 individuals, 220 associations and 62 politicians officially support the initiative.

The main idea the ECG proposes is an alternative economic order, which focuses on the common good and on cooperation instead of profit-orientation and competition. The objective is to create a more stable and equitable economy. In order to ensure this, we are providing an environmentally friendly and fair distribution of education. In addition to the Finance Balance, the EGC Movement created a “Common Good Matrix”. This Matrix is applicable to any company size and form of organization, private or public, or non-profit, and those, which follow moral ethics. The activities mentioned in the matrix are used to measure their social and ecological impact on the society. The systematic collection and performance measurement of the common good indicators is assessed on the positive and negative contribution of each company or organization.The main idea the ECG proposes is an alternative economic order, which focuses on the common good and on cooperation instead of profit-orientation and competition. The objective is to create a more stable and equitable economy. In order to ensure this, we are providing an environmentally friendly and fair distribution of education. In addition to the Finance Balance, the EGC Movement created a “Common Good Matrix”. This Matrix is applicable to any company size and form of organization, private or public, or non-profit, and those, which follow moral ethics. The activities mentioned in the matrix are used to measure their social and ecological impact on the society. The systematic collection and performance measurement of the common good indicators is assessed on the positive and negative contribution of each company or organization.

The measurement of the common good indicators is straightforward. Negative criteria include items such as evasion of tax liability, hostile takeovers, production of nuclear power or violation of human rights with -200 to -100 common good. Positive contributions of a company or organization include gender equality, fair salary and proper working conditions or the high-quality and cost-effectiveness of the goods or service-delivery a company offers, however with a maximum award of 1000 points.

 

Human dignity

Within the IGC, every employee and every student is precious, unique, and not interchangeable. In this context, we implement aspects such as equality, respect, fairness and team spirit in all areas of our institution. Our goal is to promote the unique and individual abilities of each individual person.

Students: We set a high value in ethical customer relationship management. It is of utmost importance for us, that our students find a new place of living, as well as acceptance in Bremen. Therefore, our international student assistance (ISA) provides the students with ample advice and services in order to help them meet their needs.  Students with problems or questions can count on the help of our staff at any time. Within our Career Development Center, there are regular information sessions and individual consultations in order to help our students find a job within Germany or abroad.

Employees: In all sectors, we want to ensure equality, training and further education for all employees. Our staff has the opportunity to work in various working time models, we offer an integrated health management, a gender equality, as well as women's and disability representatives.  Moreover, we are officially certified as a "Family Friendly University”.

 

Solidarity

As an international educational institution, we have a special responsibility towards our stakeholders. We therefore rely on a systematic cooperation and solidarity with all of our business partners. Since many years, we have been cooperating with landlords in Bremen in order to create a regional network of cheap and central living opportunities for our students. With our partner universities, we are cooperating worldwide in the fields of both marketing and, of course, teaching. Furthermore, we hold regular common working groups, trainings and, events. Through this we want to create transparency and an exchange of experiences and information within the IGC.

 

Corporate Responsibility

We are pioneers in the field of Corporate Responsibility. We are actively engaged in the fields of integration, a high level of job quality, fair relationships with customers and an ecological and social design of our courses. Sustainability is not just lip service but also a trademark of our education system and a main strategic element for us.
For us, social responsibility represents living and understanding values. Our aim is to start a process of change and to encourage our students, colleagues, suppliers and sponsors to raise awareness in areas such as the common welfare economy, resource conservation and social responsibility. We encourage support through joint activities.

Being a public college and amongst the few with a highly international orientation, we have been the first college to prepare and publish a Common Good Matrix. In addition to our Finance Balance, we are measuring our social and ecological values and we communicate them to our stakeholders. On the basis of five fundamental and constitutional values (human dignity, solidarity, environmental sustainability, social justice, democratic co-determination and transparency), we are informing our stakeholders whether and how far we are living these values within our institution.

Social Justice

Social aspects play an important role for us. We follow the approach of lifelong learning, and therefore we try to enable people from all ages and different walks of life, as well as both financially stable and unstable people, to engage in further studies. We treat customers equally and with respect. We try to approach the needs of our students and to support them within their individual demands. Low-income customers are financially supported by interest-free loans and have the ability to pay off the tuition fees in monthly, quarterly or half-yearly installments. To enable all people to study, we offer flexible, individual study modules, and part-time courses.

 

Democratic participation and transparency

An honest information policy both internally and externally is of utmost importance to us. Relevant information regarding prices, content and structure of studies, as well as information about internal events can be retrieved from our website. Within our organization, we rely on democratic processes. The participation of our staff and students are ensured on several levels: Through regular meetings, we encourage our employees to participate and share their ideas. Constructive feedback sessions also take place regularly. Students are involved through regular surveys, evaluations, personal interviews and a feedback box.

 

Our goal is to sensitize our students, colleagues, suppliers and sponsors in the topics of sustainability, save on resources and social responsibility and to link these aspects in a common social action.

Ramón Spiecker, MBA
Ramón Spiecker, MBA
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